Using Guided Questions With Theory Articles: "Getting out of the Cards and into the Arguments" As An Example

The value of incorporating theory article reading and review into a student’s debate curriculum has been discussed at length in previous articles. One method that coaches can use to encourage students to delve into this literature is to provide a set of guided questions to accompany selected theory articles. In schools with formal debate classes, these short answer questions can be assigned as homework or used as quizzes to confirm that students are keeping up with their assigned reading.

To demonstrate this approach, a set of guided questions for Jim Lyle’s “Getting out of the Cards and into the Arguments: Strategies for Refutation (pdf)” is available below the fold. This article provides a wealth of actionable instruction about refutation techniques and is suggested for debaters of all levels. Coaches, feel free to reuse these questions however you would like.

  1. Lyle presents three models for assessing arguments. What are they?

  2. According to the Toulmin model, an argument includes six parts. Name them.

  3. Despite being “secondary”, the latter three components of an argument are—in Lyle’s opinion—extremely important. Explain why.

  4. In the Fisher model, an argument presents a “good story” if it relies on “good reasons” and provides “narrative rationality” (including “narrative probability” and “narrative fidelity”). Explain the Fisher model and define “narrative probability” and “narrative fidelity”.

  5. Lyle contends that there are “arguments within arguments”. What does he mean? How can this help a debater improve her refutation skills?

  6. “Although an argument may be true,” Lyle writes, “it is only true under certain conditions and these are determined by the qualifiers and rebuttals that are offered with it.” Explain what he means and why he thinks this is important for debaters to understand.

  7. Lyle suggests that cross-examination can be used effectively to ‘get out of the cards and into the arguments’. Why is it important to use cross-examination to support your refutation strategies?

  8. In the “additional strategies for refutation” section, Lyle outlines six techniques that debaters can use to improve their refutation. List the six techniques and briefly explain them.

Special thanks to Max Tagher from Newburgh Free Academy for cleaning up the original PDF — the version linked above is crystal clear!

2 thoughts on “Using Guided Questions With Theory Articles: "Getting out of the Cards and into the Arguments" As An Example

  1. Bill Batterman Post author

    Thanks to Max Tagher from NFA for cleaning up the PDF; a clean, clear version of the Lyle article is now linked in the post.

  2. maximiliantiger

    Oh by the way, NFA is National Forensics Association, I do NFA-LD which is a form of college policy debate

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